As I keep saying, it you can't name radical Islam as the enemy, you can't properly fight it.
A colorful example comes today from the United Kingdom, where the chillingly named "Home Office Cohesion and Faiths Unit" issued a consultation paper that requires immigrant religious leader to be tested after a year about such matters as parliamentary democracy, the tax system, anti-discrimination laws, citizen's rights, the recent history of migration to the U.K., the country's basic law, the role of local authorities, and ways of securing access to advice about housing, employment and health care. In addition to this knowledge of Britain, they would have to show they had integrated with other faith groups, whatever that means. These regulations follow other ones in August 2004 that require immigrant religious leaders to speak the English language.
Comment: This is plain silly, as an Islamist can know as well as anyone else the British housing system; conversely, knowing about such arcana is surely no proof against Islamism. Indirection of this sort will never achieve what the authorities intend. Only naming the problem and confronting it squarely will do so. (March 9, 2005)
Apr. 19, 2005 update: Paris buys into the same theory, namely, that to know France is love France. It has therefore set up language and cultural classes for imams in Auvergne, a region of central France. United Press International explains that "broken French no longer cuts it when it comes to preaching to the country's estimated 5 million Muslims." Dominique de Villepin, minister of the interior, has set up a French civilization program, starting with language courses and to be followed, in later 2005, by courses for imams on French history, civics, and culture. These programs in turn, represent just the beginning of a more ambitious plan to create a "French Islam" by creating university training programs for French-born imams.
Sep. 21, 2014 update: In a related way, the Austrian government thinks that getting Muslims in the country to agree on a standard and official translation of the Koran will tamp down Islamism. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz lamented that "There are countless translations, countless interpretations" of the Koran. "On the other hand it is also in the interest of the community of faith that not many words are incorrectly interpreted and reproduced." Therefore, the government "will be pushing vigorously" for a standard version. I24 News explains:
Kurz claims that this step is designed to counteract interference from abroad, as Imams are to be trained exclusively at Austrian universities. The revamped law will also determine how Islamic initiatives are funded from abroad, will ensure that Islamic traditions are followed concerning holidays and funerals, and enable Imams to provide spiritual guidance in prisons, hospitals and in the army.
Feb. 27, 2015 update: The Austrian government two days ago audaciously passed a law concerning Islam (Islamgesetz) that updates one from 1912. It has the twin goals of integrating its Muslim population of nearly 600,000 (about 7 percent of the total population) and reducing Islamism by developing its own version of Islam, one "with an Austrian character." Soeren Kern explains at the Gatestone Institute:
The new law … regulates at least a dozen separate issues, including relatively non-controversial matters such as Muslim holidays, Muslim cemeteries, Muslim dietary practices and the activities of Muslim clergy in hospitals, prisons and the army. In this respect, the government has met all of the demands put forth by Muslim groups in the country.
The new law, however, goes far beyond what Muslims had wanted. For example, the law seeks to prevent the growth of a parallel Islamic society in Austria by regulating mosques and the training of imams, who will now be required to be proficient in German. The new law also requires Muslim organizations and groups to terminate the employment of clerics who have criminal records or who "pose a threat to public safety, order, health and morals or the rights and freedoms of others."
More significantly, Paragraph 6.2 of the law seeks to limit the religious and political influence of foreign governments within the Austrian Muslim community by prohibiting foreign countries—presumably Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states—from financing Islamic centers and mosques in Austria.
The new restrictions—including an employment ban for foreign clerics in Austria as of March 31, 2016 -- would apply especially to Turkey: 60 of the 300 Muslim clerics working in Austria are Turkish civil servants whose salaries are being paid for by the Turkish government's Religious Affairs Directorate, the Diyanet.
Comment: This law appears far more ambitious than similar efforts in other Western countries. Its success or failure will likely have broad importance.
Mar. 4, 2015 update: A new French governmental effort improves on the prior ones, though it makes a new error – lumping in those afraid of Islamist with Islamists. International Business Times reports:
French Minister Manuel Valls has announced plans to double the number of university courses teaching Islam, in an effort to counter the rise of Islamic extremism and far-right extremism. The courses will be funded by the state, announced Valls, who said that education was central to stamping out the ignorance that is allowing "Islamist extremism and the far right feed off each other." …
"The rise of far-right populist politics, in Europe as well as in our own country, feeds directly off the rise of jihadism, terrorism and radical extremism. It is a situation that puts our democracy, our society and our capacity to live together in extreme jeopardy. …
"The only response to the dangers that we face is the French Republic. This means the acceptance of the secular state, improving education, universities, understanding and intelligence. But there will be no laws, decrees or government directives to define what Islam means. The French state will never attempt to take control of a religion."